Because life is a series of edits

Influence (or Lack Thereof)

In Seminary Tychicus on June 26, 2005 at 8:55 am

True to form (and very much like the stock market), Learner is the self-correcting type, as the optimistic thinking documented in the previous post yesterday has turned into a bit of a pessimistic funk today. It seems this morning that the hope of his idealism to bring about world change has once again met head-on with his inability to do so in any practical way, shape, form, or timely manner.

Frankly (and as a result), he’s not been all that fun to be around.

Part of his struggle, I think, has much to do with what he’s been reading: Bono in Conversation with Michka Assaya. Two-thirds of the way through the book, Learner expressed his envy of Bono’s brilliance, eloquence, and platform earned/given as voice of the world’s biggest band and spokeman for D.A.T.A. (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa). Nice work if you can get it, Learner says.

While he doesn’t think it’s fame that motivates him, Learner says he’s not sure about that, either. After all, when you have dreams of influencing millions of people, it’s hard not to think of celebrity as a means to that end. Of course, those who are celebrities always try to play it off that they are not. Bono does precisely this in the book:

Assayas: “So you don’t see yourself as a celebrity, then.”

Bono: “No, I’m not a celebrity.”

Assayas: “Who the hell are you, then?”

Bono: “I’m a scribbling, cigar-smoking, wine-drinking, Bible-reading band man. A show-off [laughs]…who loves to paint pictures of what I can’t see. A husband, father, friend of the poor, and sometimes the rich. An activist traveling salesman of ideas. Chess player, part-time rock star, opera singer, in the loudest folk group in the world.”

When thinking about celebrity, Learner does not contemplate the vices that often accompany being well-known; in his idealism, he always and only imagines the good that could come from such a given platform. This vice-less dreaming is due to a degree of naivete (not to mention the fact that he doubts he’ll ever have to worry about it).

So, this morning, he is going to church to blend in and try to let go of his delusions of grandeur at the altar of a local assembly, to try not to lose anymore of the momentum in his studies pining to God about lack of brilliance, eloquence, and platform.

Faith, Learner says, is a long, dusty road to a place of influence. Celebrity, he says, seems a shorter, more appealing route.

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